10 Holiday Gifts Perfect for Scientists

blog_ribbionShopping for the electrochemist or solid state scientist in your life can be difficult. But don’t panic, we’re here to help. (If you happen to be that scientist, well, that’s the reason for the “share” button.) We’ve searched the Internet to find the perfect gift – from witty novelties for those with a sense of humor, to practical tools that he or she will use every day.

Take a look at the list we’ve complied and let us know if we’ve missed anything in the comments!

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Give Us a Few Minutes and We Will Do More for You

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Your input today will help us better serve the digital needs of people like you and the Society’s goal of disseminating the science.

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The Price of Academic Research

According to Eve, researchers are paid a salary to produce work and do not necessarily need to sell thousands of copies to earn a living.Credit: Shutterstock

According to Eve, researchers are paid a salary to produce work and do not necessarily need to sell thousands of copies to earn a living.
Credit: Shutterstock

There is a wealth of knowledge that exists in the huge array of academic articles that are being produced. Still, the discovery process and dissemination of knowledge is not as fast as it potentially could be.

The issue lies in the paywalls. In order to read the huge majority of these articles, one would need to have university access or else pay the often substantial fee.

Martin Paul Eve, a lecturer at the University of Lincoln’s School of English & Journalism in the United Kingdom, sat down with The Atlantic recently to discuss this issue that he has delved into in his book entitled Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies, and the Future.

Here at The Electrochemical Society, we are beginning our bold move toward open access publication in order to speed up and make more efficient the dissemination of scientific research. Still, the issue of paywalls in academic research exists and often time impedes on progress.

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Everybody Poops

WorldToiletDayHere at The Electrochemical Society, we give a crap about sanitation. With our recent partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – which awarded $210,000 in seed funding to innovative research projects addressing critical gaps in water and sanitation – we’ve spent a great deal of time these past few months talking about poop.  We plan to keep that trend alive, which brings us to World Toilet Day.

Two and a half billion people – 36 percent of the world’s population – don’t have access to a toilet, according to UNICEF. Globally, more people have mobile phones than toilets. Most people in developed countries think of access to adequate sanitation as a right rather than a privilege.

For this reason, ECS hosted the Electrochemical Energy and Water Summit, where some of the brightest minds in electrochemical and solid state science came together to brainstorm innovative ways to address the global sanitation crisis. We’re not just flushing and forgetting, we’re attempting to make adequate sanitation a basic human right.

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First Solar-Powered Bike Lane in Netherlands

SolaRoad coverts sunlight on the road surface into electricity: the road network works as an inexhaustible source of green power.Credit: SolaRoad

SolaRoad converts sunlight on the road surface into electricity: the road network works as an inexhaustible source of green power.
Credit: SolaRoad

A solar-powered cycle path – called SolaRoad – has been unveiled in the Netherlands. The path can generate enough electricity to power three households, reports BBC.

The new path has been installed in Kormmenie, which is 25 kilometers from Amsterdam. While the path is currently 70 meters long, it will be extended to 100 meters by 2016.

Dr. Sten de Wit from SolaRoad believes that this is just the beginning for solar-powered paths. Dr. de Wit foresees solar roads eventually being used to power the electric vehicles that use them, similar to Dutch developer Heijmans and designer Daan Roosegaard in their “smart highway.”

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Toyota’s Fuel Cell Car Unveiled

The groundbreaking vehicle can travel up to 300 miles on a single tank of hydrogen, refuel in less than five minutes, and emits only water vapor.Credit: Toyota

The groundbreaking vehicle can travel up to 300 miles on a single tank of hydrogen, refuel in less than five minutes, and emits only water vapor.
Credit: Toyota

Recently, fuel cells have been the hot topic in energy discussions. In accordance with this, Toyota has introduced its first mass-market fuel cell car that will be available for purchase next month.

The company is calling the four-seat sedan Mirai, which means “future” in Japanese. The car will first go on sale in Japan on December 15th, followed by sales in the United States and Europe in the fourth quarter of 2015.

This from Reuters:

The ultimate “green car”, fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) run on electricity made by mixing hydrogen fuel and oxygen in the air – a technology first used in the Apollo moon project in the 1960s. Its only by-product is heat and water – water so pure the Apollo astronauts drank it.

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3 New Job Postings in Electrochemistry

Find openings in your area via the ECS job board.

Find openings in your area via the ECS job board.

ECS’s job board keeps you up-to-date with the latest career opportunities in electrochemical and solid-state science. Check out the latest openings that have been added to the board:

Post-Doctoral Research Associate
North Carolina State University – Raleigh, North Carolina
The Postdoctoral Research Associate will focus his/her work on research and development of new lithium-sulfur batteries. The work includes the development of both electrode and electrolyte materials and the integration of these materials into lithium-sulfur batteries. The Postdoctoral Research Associate will be responsible on designing and carrying out experiments, analyzing data, writing reports, and/or help mentoring junior researchers to conduct their research.

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Member Spotlight – Chanyuan Liu

Chanyuan Liu

Chanyuan Liu, ECS member and Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland, is the lead author on the nanopore study.
Credit: University of Maryland

The Electrochemical Society’s Chanyuan Liu, along with a team of University of Maryland researchers, believe they have developed a structure that could bring about the ultimate miniaturization of energy storage components.

The tiny structure, known as the nanopore, includes all the components of a battery and can be fully charged in 12 minutes and recharged thousands of times.

This from University of Maryland:

The structure is called a nanopore: a tiny hole in a ceramic sheet that holds electrolyte to carry the electrical charge between nanotube electrodes at either end. The existing device is a test, but the bitsy battery performs well.

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Van Gogh under the Microscope

By examining paint segments from Van Gough's "Sunflowers," experts believe preservation techniques could be improved.Credit: Van Gogh Gallery

By examining paint segments from Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers,” experts believe preservation techniques could be improved.
Credit: Van Gogh Gallery

Electrochemical and solid state science transcend the limits of academic science to touch many of the things we come into contact with on a day-to-day basis, whether we know it or not. Most recently we’ve gotten a first-hand account of this at our Electrochemical Energy and Water Summit, where some of the brightest minds in electrochemical and solid state science came together to solve critical issues in global sanitation. Now, these sciences are even assisting in the preservation of culture.

Pin-sized painting samples from Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” painting have been extracted from the Van Gogh Museum and are now under the microscope at The University of Queensland’s Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis (CMM).

UQ’s Professor John Drennan is leading the project, which aims to understand the aging characteristics of significant artworks in order to improve conservation techniques.

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Why We Need More Women in Science

While women may be underrepresented in science, the ones who have pushed through the gender bias have made a tremendous impact.Credit: National Geographic

While women may be underrepresented in science, the ones who have pushed through the gender bias have made a tremendous impact.
Credit: National Geographic

There is no doubt that women have made their mark in science. From Marie Curie to Rosalind Franklin – women have made outstanding contributions to innovation, research, and technology. Still, there is a significant gender bias that exists in the field, which affects research outcomes and discovery.

The questions exists: Why are there still so few women in science? How will this affect what we learn from research?

According to an article in National Geographic, women make up half the national workforce and earn more college and graduate degrees than men. Still, the gender gap in science exists – specifically in fields such as engineering.

This from National Geographic:

According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, women in fields commonly referred to as STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) made up 7 percent of that workforce in 1970, a figure that had jumped to 23 percent by 1990. But the rise essentially stopped there. Two decades later, in 2011, women made up 26 percent of the science workforce.

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